All-MLB Watch: Here are the favorites for 2023

August 14th, 2023

The All-Star Game gives us a chance to honor the top players of (roughly) the first half, but in 2019, Major League Baseball introduced the “All-MLB Team” to provide a more comprehensive accounting of the season’s best. All-MLB honors are voted on by both fans and an expert panel after the season, with first- and second-team honorees revealed in December.

• Best at each position: C | SP | 1B | 2B | 3B

While what happens over the next several weeks will go a long way toward determining the 2023 All-MLB Team presented by MGM Rewards, it’s worth taking a look at where things stand right now. To that end, a group of writers got together to vote on who they think will wind up being named All-MLB at season’s end.

Here are the results:


First team: Sean Murphy (ATL)
Second team: Will Smith (LAD)

Murphy got hot at the plate as the weather got warmer, posting a 1.013 OPS with 11 home runs in 44 games from May 1-July 8. He launched his 20th home run of the season Sunday against the Mets after hitting a career-high 18 last season. Entering Sunday, he was also tied for fifth among Major League catchers with 5 Caught Stealing Outs Above Average.

Smith, meanwhile, has firmly established himself as one of the game’s elite catchers, and in 2023, he continues to deliver. His .850 OPS is in line with his career figure of .855, and he’s become a more patient hitter, posting a career-best .379 on-base percentage and drawing 52 walks in 91 games (he drew 56 free passes in 137 games last year).

Also receiving votes: Adley Rutschman (BAL)


First team: Freddie Freeman (LAD)
Second team: Matt Olson (ATL)

Freeman was already one of the elite hitters in baseball coming into the 2023 campaign, but he’s taken it to another level, particularly of late. The 2020 NL MVP has catapulted himself into the MVP conversation again this year thanks to a red-hot stretch over the past few weeks -- from July 5 through Saturday, he hit .423/.493/.781 with nine home runs in 31 games.

It took such a tremendous stretch by Freeman to eclipse Olson, who himself came into 2023 as one of the game’s great sluggers, but has also taken it to a higher level. The Braves’ first baseman leads MLB with 43 home runs and 107 RBIs, and he leads the NL with a .621 slugging percentage as he and fellow NL MVP candidate Ronald Acuña Jr. continue to fuel a juggernaut Atlanta lineup.

Also receiving votes: None


First team: Luis Arraez (MIA)
Second team: Marcus Semien (TEX)

Arraez has been a major focus in the baseball world this season, and for good reason: for much of the 2023 campaign, he was within striking distance of a .400 batting average. He’s down to .367, but his high-contact/low-strikeout approach is a throwback style in the contemporary epoch, last seen to such a successful degree with Ichiro Suzuki. Arraez’s .878 OPS is easily a career best, and he’s on his way to his first 200-hit season.

In Texas, it’s been a season of slugging, with a powerful lineup carrying the Rangers to the top of the AL West. Semien has been at the center of that, along with Corey Seager. The veteran second baseman hasn’t replicated his career year in 2021, when he set an MLB record by hitting 45 homers as a second baseman, but he’s remained one of the very best at the position. He’s also been heating up at the plate, hitting .348 with two doubles, a triple and three homers this month.

Also receiving votes: Ha-Seong Kim (SD), Bryson Stott (PHI)


First team: José Ramírez (CLE)
Second team: Matt Chapman (TOR)

Ramírez continues to demonstrate his consistent excellence both at the plate and at the hot corner. His 3.9 fWAR leads all full-time third basemen, and his .282/.357/.487 slash line with 18 homers, while a little light on the slugging side compared with recent years, is in line with the type of production you’d expect to see from him by this point in the season.

Chapman is putting together his best season since 2019, when he was an All-Star and belted 36 home runs for the A’s. Now in his second season with the Blue Jays, he’s leading the AL with 35 doubles to go along with 15 homers and a .795 OPS. Entering Sunday, he was also third among MLB third basemen with 11 defensive runs saved.

Also receiving votes: Austin Riley (ATL), Manny Machado (SD)


First team: Corey Seager (TEX)
Second team: Bo Bichette (TOR)

Although he’s missed some time due to injury, Seager has been one of the very best hitters in the game when in the Rangers’ lineup. He’s enjoying a career year, hitting .348/.407/.649 with 20 homers in 339 plate appearances for Texas. Since coming off the injured list on Aug. 2, he's batting .333 with two doubles and five homers in nine games.

Though he's currently on the injured list, there has been no AL player more adept at producing hits over the past three seasons than Bichette, whose 524 knocks over that span lead the league. Even though he hasn't played since July 31, Bichette still leads the AL with 144 hits this season to go along with a .321/.352/.494 slash line and 17 home runs.

Also receiving votes: Bobby Witt Jr. (KC)


First team: Ronald Acuña Jr. (ATL), Mookie Betts (LAD), Juan Soto (SD)
Second team: Luis Robert Jr. (CWS), Adolis García (TEX), Corbin Carroll (ARI)

Acuña is in the midst of a potentially historic season, on pace to become the first player in AL/NL history to hit 30 or more home runs and steal 60 or more bases. He stole his 55th bag Sunday against the Mets, and on the season, he has a .995 OPS and 26 home runs. Along with teammate Matt Olson, he is an NL MVP frontrunner.

Betts, meanwhile, is putting together his best season since his 2018 AL MVP campaign with the Red Sox -- the seven-time All-Star owns a .967 OPS with 31 homers to go along with his characteristically excellent defense in right field.

Soto has bounced back from a “subpar” 2022 season by his standards. So far in ’23, he’s produced a .268/.407/.507 slash line with 24 home runs while customarily leading the Majors in bases on balls, with 99.

Robert is finally showing us what he can do when healthy over a long period of time. He was rightfully hyped coming out of the Minors, but injuries derailed him over his first three Major League seasons. In 113 games this season, he’s smashed 31 homers and stolen 16 bases while posting an .889 OPS for the White Sox.

We knew García is a great hitter -- he proved that out of the gate with a tremendous 2021 rookie campaign in which he belted 31 homers as part of an All-Star season. But he’s taken it to another level in ’23, leading the AL with 89 RBIs while posting a career-best .852 OPS. With 29 homers, he’ll likely set a new career high in that department as well.

Carroll is the heavy favorite to win the NL Rookie of the Year Award after a sensational first half of the season that had some whispering “MVP candidate.” Despite cooling off along with the rest of the D-backs following the All-Star break, he still owns an .863 OPS with 21 homers and 36 steals for Arizona.

Also receiving votes: Kyle Tucker (HOU), Julio Rodríguez (SEA), Christian Yelich (MIL), Fernando Tatis Jr. (SD), Masataka Yoshida (BOS)


First team: Shohei Ohtani (LAA)
Second team: Yordan Alvarez (HOU)

What can you say about Ohtani that can possibly capture his greatness adequately? The two-way megastar has only gotten better, particularly at the plate, where he is authoring a career year in a career that has already been unprecedented. He leads the AL with 41 home runs, 75 walks and a .408 on-base percentage. Well on his way toward his second career MVP Award, he also leads the Majors in slugging (.665), OPS (1.073) and total bases (290).

If it weren’t for Ohtani making history at every turn, Alvarez would be a first-team DH perennially. The Astros slugger has a .946 OPS with 21 homers despite missing some time due to injury, as he looks to help Houston defend its World Series title this fall.

Also receiving votes: J.D. Martinez (LAD)


First team: Gerrit Cole (NYY), Framber Valdez (HOU), Spencer Strider (ATL), Zac Gallen (ARI), Kevin Gausman (TOR)
Second team: Blake Snell (SD), Nathan Eovaldi (TEX), Justin Steele (CHC), Sonny Gray (MIN), Logan Webb (SF)

This may finally be the year for Cole to win a Cy Young Award after over a decade of stellar performances in the Majors. The workhorse right-hander has been the brightest spot in an otherwise disappointing season for the Yankees, posting a 2.76 ERA over an AL-best 156 1/3 innings.

Valdez has struggled in the second half, but overall, he’s putting together another strong season for the Astros, highlighted by a no-hitter against the Guardians on Aug. 1. He’s pitched to a 3.30 ERA over 22 starts for Houston this year, his second All-Star campaign.

Strider continues to be among the most overpowering hurlers in the game. He is striking out an incredible 38 percent of the batters he faces and has an MLB-leading 217 punchouts over 139 1/3 innings. His 2.95 FIP also leads the NL.

Gallen has proven his breakout 2022 campaign was no fluke. With his latest outing, in which he pitched six scoreless innings against the Padres, the right-hander lowered his season ERA to 3.24, and his league-leading WHIP to 1.07.

Although he is flying under the radar a bit, Gausman remains one of the best starting pitchers in baseball. The veteran right-hander leads the AL with 183 strikeouts, and he leads the Majors with a 2.72 FIP (3.04 ERA).

The second team’s rotation in our poll would make any All-Star roster look great. Snell has turned back the clock to 2018, his AL Cy Young Award-winning season. The left-hander has an MLB-leading 2.63 ERA thanks to an incredible 15-start stretch since May 25, over which his ERA is 1.16 and opponents are batting .165 against him.

Though he’s currently working his way back from injury, Eovaldi is enjoying a career year for Texas, leading the AL with a 2.69 ERA over 19 starts. Steele is enjoying a breakout season of his own, pitching to a 2.79 ERA over 22 starts for the upstart Cubs. 

Gray, meanwhile, is on pace to throw his most innings in a season since 2019, and he’s anchored Minnesota’s rotation with his 3.04 ERA. And Webb continues to be a major reason the Giants are exceeding expectations once again, with his 8 2/3-inning gem against the Rangers on Sunday providing the latest example.

Also receiving votes: Shohei Ohtani (LAA), Corbin Burnes (MIL), Clayton Kershaw (LAD), George Kirby (SEA), Zach Eflin (TB), Justin Verlander (HOU), Kodai Senga (NYM), Luis Castillo (SEA)


First team: Félix Bautista (BAL), Josh Hader (SD)
Second team: Alexis Díaz (CIN), Devin Williams (MIL)

Bautista has been a mountainous revelation for Baltimore, with the 6-foot-8, 285-pound right-hander posting a 1.60 ERA with an AL-best 31 saves so far in 2023. Hader continues to do his thing, with the flamethrowing left-hander dominating the ninth inning -- he’s got a 0.86 ERA and a 38 percent strikeout rate.

Last spring, we anticipated writing about a closer named Díaz when it came time to talk about the All-MLB Team. But with an injury to Edwin, brother Alexis has stepped into the vacated role, and he’s been tremendous for the surprising Reds in 2023. The 26-year-old right-hander paces the Majors with 33 saves while posting a 2.39 ERA.

Williams, Hader’s successor in Milwaukee, has established himself as an elite closer. Since the beginning of the 2022 campaign, the right-hander has a 1.68 ERA with 43 saves.

Also receiving votes: Aroldis Chapman (TEX), David Bednar (PIT), Camilo Doval (SF), Emmanuel Clase (CLE), Yennier Cano (BAL)

Voters: David Adler, Thomas Harrigan, Cole Jacobson, Brent Maguire, Brian Murphy, Henry Palattella, Manny Randhawa, Shanthi Sepe-Chepuru, Andrew Simon